Karlsson

Swede dreams: Sweden advances to gold medal final with win over Finland

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Sweden is headed to its first Olympic gold medal final since 2006 thanks to Friday’s 2-1 win over Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

In a methodical, defensive affair, the Swedes received goals from Loui Eriksson and Erik Karlsson — Karlsson’s now tied with Phil Kessel for the tournament scoring lead — while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win.

The goals came after Finland opened the scoring 6:17 into the second period, when Olli Jokinen squeaked one past Lundqvist from a bad angle.

“I think it was a chess match more than the intense battle we all expected,” Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman following the game.

In terms of atmosphere, the game had an odd feel. Finland defeated the host Russians to get into the semifinal matchup, and that may have contributed to a quiet, less-than-capacity crowd at the Bolshoy. That said, the Finns and Swedes still engaged in a feisty affair born from geography and a long history of high-stakes international competition (Sweden bested Finland for gold at the ’06 games in Turin.)

Finland had trouble utilizing its speed throughout Friday’s game and will no doubt rue its missed opportunities, especially on the power play. The Finns went 0-for-5 on the day, which was a tournament-long issue — they only scored three power play goals in Sochi, two coming in a tournament-opening 8-4 rout over Austria. The Finns will likely also wonder what life would’ve been like with No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask in goal; he fell ill prior to the game and was replaced by Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 23 of 25 shots.

As for Sweden, it continued the theme of finding ways to win.

Though the team hasn’t been dominant in any of its victories — the 5-0 win over Slovenia in the quarters was deceiving, as the Sweden only led 1-0 going into the third — it has continually gotten the job done and remains the only undefeated Olympic squad to have won all its games in regulation.

Sweden is also now 11-1 in its last 12 Olympic games, dating back to its gold medal-winning performance in ’06.

Stars, Rangers do their Caps – Pens impression in wild win for Dallas

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If you watched only Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers game and yesterday’s manic Washington Capitals contest, you might believe that you were transported to the days of the 1988 Smythe Division.

Just ask Justin Williams.

That Penguins – Capitals game ended with an 8-7 overtime victory for Pittsburgh, while tonight’s 7-6 win for the Stars against the Rangers wasn’t far behind.

All the goals

Henrik Lundqvist gave up seven goals, eventually giving way to Magnus Hellberg in the third period. It’s been a rough go of things lately for the future Hall of Famer, with tonight marking the low point.

The Stars opened up leads of 3-1 in the first period and 7-3 through the first two frames, but as you can guess from the score, the Rangers stormed back with three goals in a surprisingly tight third period.

Kari Lehtonen saved the day for the Stars, stopping 12 of 12 after taking over about halfway through the third for Antti Niemi.

Much like with the Penguins – Capitals clash, it was about more than just seeing a lot of goals.

More than just a high-scoring game

Cody Eakin and Chris Kreider were in the thick of things. Eakin scored his first goal of 2016-17, a 7-3 tally that absurdly ended up being the game-winner. Kreider began the Rangers’ rally with his 18th goal of the season, hit Eakin with his own helmet during a fight and created his typical brand of chaos.

As much as this might sting the Rangers, and as concerned as they may be about Lundqvist’s play, at least it looks like Ryan McDonagh avoided injury despite this scary fall:

OK, so these four teams dropped the gauntlet for wild games this week. Who’s going to carry the torch on Wednesday?

Report: Islanders granted permission to interview Gerard Gallant

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 29:  Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers speaks during Media Day for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Gerard Gallant might not go long between head coaching gigs.

The New York Islanders have received permission to speak with Gallant, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Gallant was an assistant coach with the Islanders from 2007 to 2009, so there’s some familiarity there with GM Garth Snow (it was early on in his reign). Gallant was unceremoniously fired by the Florida Panthers in late November, with plenty of rumors circulating that he didn’t jive well with the franchise’s analytics-driven mindset. Gallant denied those claims, for whatever that’s worth.

(If such rumblings are true, perhaps Gallant would agree with the questionable logic of giving limited, but heavy-hitting forward Cal Clutterbuck a contract extension. That would be an interesting question to ask him during an interview, eh?)

Doug Weight is currently considered the Islanders interim head coach after the firing of Jack Capuano.

About the only bummer for everyone outside of Weight is that the Islanders already played their three games against the Panthers this season, so we’d have to wait until 2017-18 for whatever drama would come of that.

Robin Lehner’s furious anger seemingly directed at Sabres after being pulled

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Update: There’s now full video to get a better sense of Robin Lehner‘s behavior.

The Maple Leafs ended up beating the Sabres 4-3 after Buffalo made the game awfully interesting.

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Late last season, Ben Scrivens expressed relief in avoiding a fight with Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres goalie he called “a bit of a psycho.” It sure seemed like the Sabres were the target of his frightening anger on Tuesday.

Lehner really didn’t seem too happy after being pulled from the game, whether that anger was directed at Dan Bylsma, his Sabres teammates or … everyone?

Watch him rage out after getting the hook following Toronto’s three-goal outburst in about nine minutes:

/Cowers in fear.

Onlookers seem to believe that the tension was real.

Raise your hand if you wouldn’t want to be around Lehner right now. Here’s the impressive Auston Matthews 3-2 goal that ended his night early:

Jared Spurgeon shows he has hands like a surgeon (Video)

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Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has a pretty good knack for scoring goals, especially considering the fact that he doesn’t always take a ton of shots.

Maybe Bruce Boudreau should consider asking him to fire away a little more often.

You won’t see many prettier examples of hand-eye coordination than Spurgeon’s power-play goal from Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, which gave the Wild a 1-0 lead. Watch it in the video above.

It’s almost impressive enough to justify rhyming his last name with surgeon. You know, theoretically.